Issues Archives: History Questions

March – April, 2006

Israel: Island of Tolerance in the Mideast

I AM STRUCK by those on the left whose hostility to Israel is so total that they ignore the fact that, by the values important to liberals, conditions inside Israel are greatly superior to those within any of its Arab neighbors. This does not mean that one needs to agree with Israel’s position on Israeli-Arab issues.

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How Abramoff Funded the Anti-Gay Agenda

One aspect of the corruption and bribery mega-scandal shaking Washington that’s swirling around conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and which hasn’t gotten much mass media attention, is how a lot of dough from Abramoff-controlled slush funds went to leading homophobes from the religious Right.

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Lincoln, Sex, and the Scholars

IT IS A TRUISM that Abraham Lincoln was incompetent with women. Scholars emphasize that as a young man, his awkwardness and shyness and uncouth appearance so embarrassed him that he avoided their company. He botched the niceties of courtship, tripped over himself, was almost a laughingstock. Lincoln in his twenties attempted to court a woman named Mary Owens whose verdict is widely cited in Lincoln literature: he was “deficient in those little links which make up the chain of woman’s happiness.”

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Letters to the Editor

Readers’ opionions

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Did Oscar Wilde Set Back Gay Rights?

The Wilde debacle-he served a torturous term in prison, then exiled himself to France, where he drank himself to death-so transformed the emerging discussion of homosexual rights that it’s difficult to tell what would have happened if he hadn’t pressed his hopeless prosecution. On the one hand, Wilde put the issue of gay rights on the agenda of every socially progressive industrial country. On the other hand, he ensured that homosexuality itself would be perceived by the public as something to be stamped out ruthlessly.

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Thoughts on news of the day

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Margaret Cho Is a One-Woman Tornado

For this exclusive interview, I spoke with Cho in her new adopted hometown of Glendale, California.

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L.A., 1/1/67: The Black Cat Riots

ON THE ELEVENTH NIGHT of February 1967, over 200 people from all walks of life-artists, teachers, factory workers, bankers, street cleaners, retired military men and women-filled the corner of Sunset and Sanborn in the heart of LA’s Silverlake district. Legal experts, clergymen, and local activists spoke on police brutality and homosexual rights while protestors waved signs demanding “No More Abuse of Our Rights and Dignity,” “Abolish Arbitrary Arrests,” and “Peace!” Across the street, nervous police clutched their batons while unmarked squad cars circled the protest like vultures.

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Reflections on Song of the Loon at Forty

This charming, delightfully queer pastoral, which was originally published in 1966, has been brought back by Little Sister’s Classics, a series of books created by Arsenal Pulp Press and the Vancouver bookstore Little Sister’s to revive gay and lesbian literary classics.

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That Double Meaning of ‘In Cold Blood’

In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s masterful portrayal of author Truman Capote vividly conveys the weight of those burdens as part of director Bennett Miller’s cautionary tale of the pleasures and dangers of storytelling.

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